Moana and Me
It’s been over a year since I started at Soapbox Films and I just wanted to pause and celebrate the fact that I have been making a living off my art for over 12 months! That’s…a pretty big deal for me. I never went to art school and I’ve long ago thought I’ve missed all the opportunities to pursue art careers. One year ago, I moved back to Los Angeles anxious and uncertain about my future; I’ve decided I was going to take a chance and give storyboarding as a career option. I guarantee you in my wildest dreams I had no idea I was going to end up drawing animated characters from Disney, Dreamworks, 20th Century Fox and that I was going to be part of the industry I’ve always had a deep and lasting passion for.
Moana is special to me because she’s the first Disney “princess” I’ve had to draw in my first week at SBF. She’s brown-skinned, beautiful and easily reminds me of women from my own culture. I was fighting back tears driving home my first few days thinking how lucky I was to be in this position. I remember how special it was to watch Mulan onscreen so many years ago and feel that connection with her. (I’m Filipino-Chinese, by the way so I get to identify with these two characters!) I know Moana is going to be just as special to so many little (and not so little) girls. I am fiercely proud to be even just a tiny part of that. I want people to fall in love with her, too.
Technically, yes, I don’t draw for the actual movies- I draw little animated cycles to help market them for our clients. It was an insane journey to see the little doodles I work on go through the process and get finalized as fully-rendered sequences. It’s exciting and humbling knowing that I’m collaborating with some of the best artists alive today. You can see some of them here! (Moana moments on Twitter, Kakamora Haka, Moana and Kakamora)
I’m so grateful for the people who have made it possible for me to get here and I want to keep learning and growing from this point on. The second volume of Polterguys is still chugging along! If I get enough pages done, maybe it’ll mean I can release a printed book next year. I’m still working on a storyboard portfolio too, saving up for more classes and taking in as much as I can to understand film and storytelling better.
Thanks for reading this and go see Moana! 🙂